Untamed: Book summary and reviews of Untamed by Will Harlan

Untamed

The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island

by Will Harlan

Untamed by Will Harlan X
Untamed by Will Harlan
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  • Published in USA  May 2014
    320 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

Carol Ruckdeschel is the wildest woman in America. She eats road kill, wrestles alligators, rides horses bareback, and lives in a ramshackle cabin that she built herself in an island wilderness. She's had three husbands and many lovers, one of whom she shot and killed in self-defense. A combination of Henry David Thoreau and Jane Goodall, Carol is a self-taught scientist who has become a tireless defender of sea turtles on Cumberland Island, a national park off the coast of Georgia.

Cumberland is the country's largest and most biologically diverse barrier island - over forty square miles of pristine wilderness celebrated for its windswept dunes and feral horses. Steel magnate Thomas Carnegie owned much of Cumberland, and his widow Lucy made it a Gilded Age playground. But in recent years, Carnegie heirs and the National Park Service have clashed with Carol over the island's future. What happens when a dirt-poor naturalist with only a high-school diploma tries to stop one of the wealthiest families in America? Untamed is the story of an American original standing her ground and fighting for what she believes in, no matter the cost.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Harlan intimately and expansively profiles a fearless Southern island dweller... A moving homage and an adventure story that artfully articulates the ferocities of nature and humanity." - Kirkus

"Carol Ruckdeschel isn't quite your mother's idea of a role model, but she is my idea of an inspiring woman. Her gifts are many, her commitment resolute, her contribution world-class. And boy - as you'll read - has she had fun. What a story! It's as beautiful as the island she loves." - Carl Safina, author of The View from Lazy Point and A Sea in Flames

"Now this is an adventure story. Untamed is the true-life saga of a brilliant, beautiful woman who became her own tall tale. Just to survive, Carol Ruckdeschel had to become as elusive and mysterious as the creatures she first set off into the wilderness to study." - Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run

"Thanks to Carol, there is hope for wild creatures who have preceded humankind by hundreds of millions of years - and hope for an enduring future for ourselves as well." - Sylvia Earle, record-setting oceanographer, National Geographic explorer-in-residence, 2009 TED Prize winner, Mission Blue founder, Time's first Hero of the Planet, and author of The World Is Blue

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Author Information

Will Harlan

Will Harlan is the editor-in-chief of "Blue Ridge Outdoors," the country's largest regional outdoor magazine. A top trail runner and a long-time journalist, his work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic Adventure, and elsewhere.

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